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*** Pathfinder Society GM. 95 posts (7,410 including aliases). 2 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 19 Organized Play characters. 12 aliases.


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My particular case this week was with a rogue. That is, the new base class that is really defined by skills.

At first level, with Int 16, Dex 18, and Wis 14, there wasn’t much that distinguished the rogue in a scenario where the skills that were used were mainly medicine and knowledge checks.

Fighters get Expert weapon proficiency at level one, but there’s no equivalent way for a rogue to truly stand out. Sneak attack *is* good, but I’d like to see them have (from level one) a more clear edge with skills.

I’m all for balancing the importance of magic. That said, the worst kinds of min-maxing I’ve seen at the PFS table in 1E had to do with martial characters whose players were obsessed with maximizing DPR. By 11th level, few spellcasters could compete with an optimized barbarian or kineticist.

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This is general feedback to Paizo developers for future releases. Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to participate in the play test, but I did play 1E and have weathered many other edition changes over forty years of gaming.

Arachnofiend wrote:
It wasn't possible to do the thousand faces thing from level 1 in PF1 core, either. Neither the kitsune nor the psychic were core options, the psychic coming quite late in PF1's life cycle.

I hear you. Though the 1E CRB at least made this possible eventually. The new limits on spell duration make this sort of concept difficult at the core of the game.

I don’t want to wait three or eight years to have the range of options that kept me with PF1. That’s why I want to give feedback now.

I was playing a rogue with a high Int, who had bonuses on almost every skill we checked between +5 and +7. There was an alchemist with some overlapping skills in the same general bonus range.

The issue is, skill-focused characters like this will have a hard time standing out from each other in any 1st level party. Having something akin to Skill Focus (i.e., the ability to select a skill or two as Expert) would make it possible to really shine in one area.

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I'm enjoying quite a few things about the new system (action economy, especially). That said, I'm concerned about some major downsides of the heavy emphasis on balance and making non-magical classes more attractive.

For me, it'll be hard to get really excited about the system until a couple of issues are resolved:


I was playing the season opener this last week. Lots of skill checks throughout the evening, but no one really stood out much in any given direction.

With a first level spread of bonuses that are generally between +5 to +8, it was hard for any 1st level character to shine distinctly in any given area.

One solution, I think, would be to allow first level characters to get 2-3 skills up to Expert level. Creating from first level the ability to spread out a bit more statistically.

Without this, low level play is just going to feel a lot like oatmeal. More bland than it needs to be.


I get that we want to balance magic effects against the abilities of rogues and fighters. But to do that, we've made it impossible to create many beloved character concepts.

For example: the PC with a thousand faces.

many of my fellow 1E players have a real fondness for characters who are able to do pretty weird things at low levels.

There are disguise lovers who loved the kitsune's Realistic Likeness feat or psychic's spirit channeler discipline. These all allowed PCS to assume alternate identities for full scenarios from day one.

This kind of ability could be a bit of a challenge for judges at times, but in general contributed to more fun at the table (and some good plot twists that didn't need to break any particular scenario).

As it stands, there aren't really any low level abilities that allow constant magical effects like this. A druid has to wait until 4th level to take a Thousand Faces, and that ability's duration maxes out at one hour many levels later.

There are probably other concepts out there that face similar challenges.

It'd be great if future books could address this issue with the 1 minute / 10 minute / 1 hour duration limits, and find balanced ways to do cool things 24 hours a day.

Most folks who play this kind of concept aren't interested in breaking the game — they just understandably want to create characters that have a certain fantasy panache.

I wish we could address the problem of casters v. rogues + fighters by just making the latter more fantastic (I LOVE the new rogue), rather than nerfing magic and wonder.

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I do like having an online guide that can be updated dynamically. That said, it's super hard to find things with the current UI. Might I recommend a sidebar navigation column similar to D20PFSRD or the PDFs that let you drive down to specific topics?

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I can't help but interject here, given the article title. :-p

While we're talking about "It takes a village," let's hear it for the many Pathfinder Society volunteers who put in an incredible number of unpaid hours to promote Society play and Paizo's products in general.

Thank you venture officers, agents, store coordinators, judges. None of this larger enterprise would work without your efforts!

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In my little corner of Pathfinder Society, a lot of folks have gotten used to long duration (i.e., day-long or longer) effects that give them the kind of character flavor they want.

For instance, the kitsune's Realistic Likeness feat, the vigilante's second identity, the psychic's spirit channeler discipline, or druid's Thousand Faces feat that around 8th level allow you to take on another identity more or less 100% of the time, which can make certain scenarios really interesting.

Or spells like Overland Flight, that let players realize their dream of a fantasy character who can constantly fly.

There can be some game balance issues with such long duration effects, but I find the narrative value of some of these abilities to be awesome.

I'd like to see some mechanics that allow for more constant effects like this in future books — grappling with how to make them balanced, but with a firm commitment to working such options into the system.

What do others think?

Dot. Maybe we can use the Recruitment tab to intro characters?

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Okay, I'll be switching in a vanara druid. Perhaps cousin to our monk friend?

Go here:

Click on the Edit button.

Click on the Change button and explore l!

I noticed that Vernisant's Challenge damage bonus is significantly lower than the rules say for a cavalier. I wonder if that's intentional for balancing effect or just a typo?

The Spirit Channeler discipline allows psychics to change form to another form of your type and subtype—but that the new form cannot change your type or subtype.

Metamorphosis (Su):

By meditating for 1 hour, you can trigger a slow, physical metamorphosis that takes 24 hours to complete (during which you do not gain the benefits of this new form). This ability cannot change your type or subtype, grant new abilities or natural weapons, or change your size category, but otherwise allows you to transform your appearance into anything possible for creatures of your type and subtype. You gain a +1 enhancement bonus to one physical ability score of your choice (Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution) while in this altered form. This bonus increases by 1 for every 5 psychic levels you have. Your shape and ability score bonus persist until you assume a new form or your current altered form ends. When meditating to begin your metamorphosis, you can spend 1 point from your phrenic pool either to change your size category to Small or Medium, or to gain a new ability from those provided by the alter self spell. If you do so, your altered form lasts only 1 hour per level.

I wonder what this means for Aasimars (type: outsider/subtype: native).

It's clear they could take the appearance of tieflings, sylphs, undine, etc.

It's slightly less clear whether you could take the form of, say, a rakshasa, though my sense is 'no'.

I also wonder how this relates to aasimar with the Scion of Humanity variant.

Scion of Humanity:

Some aasimars’ heavenly ancestry is extremely distant. An aasimar with this racial trait counts as an outsider (native) and a humanoid (human) for any effect related to race, including feat prerequisites and spells that affect humanoids. She can pass for human without using the Disguise skill. This racial trait replaces the Celestial language and alters the native subtype.

My initial reading was that you could assume the form or either human subtype or native subtype, but RAW this seems to imply only those with both humanoid/human AND outside/native types and subtypes.

Sorry to revive a long dormant thread.

I've been noticing that some stores are becoming reluctant to host PFS games, especially as D&D Encounters becomes more popular.

At least one store owner has mentioned the concern that Paizo's policy (only providing PDFs for purchase and not a free one for purchased hardcopies) puts them in direct competition with Paizo. Why would they support Pathfinder Society if the players are buying most of their splat books on

The recent introduction of rules that provide a bonus for tables who make store purchases is great, but I think there's still something in this dynamic that makes the PFS <> store <> Paizo relationship less symbiotic than it could be. I wish you all would reconsider the model. This is bad for Paizo's longevity in the long run.

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Oh dear! X typo

Just let me know when you’re ready! For those of you whore on Facebook with me, I’d be grateful for a ping there!

Just thinking about you all and the amazing time I had with this story. Despite my tempestuous moments, I hope it also has left fond memories for you all!

I'll join you over there now. Thanks for being open to the swap, Nightdeath and Luke.

Archasimos wrote:

For the Swashbuckler and for several other classes, there really needs to be the addition of the main-gauche as a parrying dagger, and rules to support it. Also it shouldn't be an exotic weapon.

Rather than stat-ing out main-gauche separately, this could perhaps be accomplished by making Two-Weapon Defense an optional bonus feat that doesn't require Two-Weapon Fighting (though of course most people would want to get that too), and just using dagger stats.

With respect, I sense that folks don't want to discuss out of character. I don't see how I can move forward without your help problem solving out if character. I gather there are a
side conversations happening by IM that don't include me, and I'm left uncertain about how to move forward.

I'm going to stop posting IC for a while. If you want to discuss here or privately, please let me know. I mean well, but I clearly don't know what to do without some feedback. DM Euan, please feel free to do what you wish with Fondo.

One piece of feedback that is clear us that I post too damn much, and that may have made you all feel drowned out. I'm going to try to take that to heart, though I need some help finding the right pace....

I resent that. I am a Razmiran. I celebrate Razmas.

A somewhat provocative post I put together about the dreaded 'metagaming.'

A somewhat provocative post I put together about the dreaded 'metagaming.'

This post is mainly directed at diehard roleplaying and storytelling fans like me, and those who game with us via play-by-post (PbP) or face-to-face (F2F).

As a diehard PbP and F2F gamer with a love of the creative elements of the game, I have frequent opportunities to debate the finer points of roleplaying and metagaming.

One question that often comes up is how much player characters are likely to know about each other, specifically in terms of metagame knowledge about spells, powers, etc.

A related complaint that often arises is that asking questions or making assumptions about such things is 'metagaming.' And that metagaming is bad / evil / the antithesis of (capital R) Roleplaying.


However, Pathfinder isn't just a game about roleplaying and storytelling. It's a game about cooperation, strategy, and dice, in which our storytelling is mediated by rules.

Both the game and storytelling aspects of Pathfinder are greatly aided when players and characters find ways to communicate what qualities and abilities we and our PCs bring to the table.

Put slightly more poetically, the metagame is the skeleton upon which we build the flesh of our story. Being able to speak to the metagame can be distracting, but it can also help us ensure that the overall body of the game is healthy.

The question is, how do we communicate the metagame aspect of the game, while preserving a sense of immersion, which is critical to good storytelling and roleplaying?

I submit to you the best roleplaying doesn't mean avoiding metagaming. It means recasting our metagame knowledge and requests into evocative roleplay and narration, and conveying when we're slipping out of narrative mode.

Yes, Metagame!

Let's look at a specific example from one of my PbP games: How would a Varisian bravo / battle herald possibly know that an elven cleric of Nethys, who is an extremely reticent chauvinist who looks down on humans, has antimagic field as a domain spell? It would be metagaming to suggest otherwise, if his elf had never cast the spell.

True. The Varisian likely has no in-character way of knowing about antimagic field, if the other player doesn't indicate such through either narration or roleplay.

If I were to have my Varisian say, "Hey, elf, mind casting antimagic field?" other diehard roleplayers might respond by crying foul: "Metagamer! Get a rope!"

Rather than get bent out of shape, why not look at this as an opportunity to encourage with each other more roleplaying and immersion.

Instead of getting mad at another player for asking your character to do 'X,' roll with it.

Encourage that player to reframe their request in a way that's more immersive / non-game-speak, or just respond with your in-character or narrative voice, with a smile on your face.

It could even be fun for the player being approached with metagamey requests to quickly write up (in PbP) or engage that player (in F2F or PbP) in a flashback that shows how that player's PC knows about X ability. Chances are characters are spending a lot of time together off-screen—an infinite pool of potential vignettes to tap into.

Also, when leveling up, why not take some time to talk out how your character describes their growing expertise in narrative terms? Maybe talk excitedly in-character about a new spell. Or describe narratively the lightning crackling from her fingertips, if you have a more reticent character.

Anyway, there are lots of potential ways to navigate metagaming that are constructive, and help set a positive expectation for roleplaying and storytelling. Let's help each other, instead of getting bent out of shape.

Immersion & voice

I love immersion in roleplaying games—little touches that players and GMs add that are crucial to RPG storytelling and roleplaying.

Immersion is not the same as always being immersed, and never speaking in metagame terms. Rather, it's about getting the right balance of speaking in metagame-ese and speaking immersively. One doesn't have to fight with the other, and it's hard to play the game if we don't do some of each.

The trick is finding a way to distinguish between when we're speaking metagame, and when we're being immersive.

One thing that is beautiful about PbP, but harder in F2F, is the ability to separate out-of-character metagame writing from narrative description and dialogue. A few simple tags and you're set!

It's harder in F2F gameplay, but not impossible. Some suggestions:

  • Cultivate a narrative voice, and to use it as much as possible. Perhaps you lower your voice for narration, or use the Movie Guy voice—"In a world..." (ok, please don't use that guy's voice)
  • Change your pitch or make a hand gesture when you're slipping into metagame-ese
  • Cultivate another tone or accent for your character. It doesn't have to be a perfect British accent. Just something that lets others know you're roleplaying

The more we can make clear when we're putting flesh on the story and when we're talking about its skeleton, the less of a problem metagaming will be.

What happens off-screen?

Sometimes we talk about PCs relationships with each other as though they only spend time together during the hours when we're gaming. In most campaigns, though, PCs spend huge amounts of time together.

What do they learn about each other during that time? Do they pick up things about each other? Sit in stony silence? Lie to each other?

I believe it's reasonable to assume that PCs learn a lot about each other during those long ocean voyages or caravan trips. Enough for us to give each other the benefit of the doubt about how much they know about each other. The roleplaying fun comes with filling in the details—explaining how we know what we know.

Metagame: yes. Play other people's characters: NO!

It is a point well taken that control freaks like me can really push the envelope in terms of claiming to know more than our PCs would know, and then provide 'suggestions' that are too directive.

This isn't the same as assuming that we know something unstated about each others' characters based on metagame knowledge—the subject of this post.

Let's find ways to make metagaming a catalyst for more creativity, while agreeing not to be directive jerks (which is a much taller task for jerks like me than, say, making roleplaying lemonade out of metagame lemons).

Hey everyone,

I'm sorry to say that I'll be withdrawing from this PBP. A lot going on in life right now, and I find I'm not able to bring to Malki and the game the level of attention I desire in a game.

Thanks to Slosh for his good, hard work putting things together for the campaign, and apologies if this leaves the group in the lurch for a while.

don't all of their rolls get cut in half too?

Malki is much more respectful of boundaries than his player. :-p

Thanks, James and everyone! Much appreciated. I"ll keep my eye open for new avatar options as the new campaign gets into full gear.

Would it be helpful to send a note to Erik or Sarah Robinson with suggestions? I appreciate your receptiveness to feedback.

I hear you, and wouldn't necessarily expect you to develop a separate line of avatar images. Best to build up the overall image library, from an art direction perspective... I'd be curious whether the art department is working with the sort of grid that I mentioned above as it develops NPCs, new iconics and their images...

Hey Gary,

Thanks for your quick response. Yes, I did review all of them. I only saw about 1-2 male avatars that fit the Legacy of Fire campaign setting. There weren't a huge amount of options for other racial, er, phenotypes (though much more for European).

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I might suggest art direction plans that try to fill a cross-section of:

  • races/ethnicities & skin tones
  • body types
  • genders (with Wes Schneider's discussion of including transgender characters, this might be more than just male/female)
  • character class types, or the range of armored to cloth

A quick scan of the available avatars will likely show that European-style avatars cover a lot of these categories (e.g., girthier white men with goatees in armor or in cloth; young, slender, buxom women and perhaps fewer older or full-figured women...), but other race/ethnicity types don't.

I appreciate your efforts, in any case! I know the budget for image licenses must not be high...

I have just begun play in a Legacy of Fire campaign online. Several of the PCs are playing Keleshite, Mwangi or Vudrani characters (from what I understand).

Unfortunately, as we look at the available avatars, there are very few available.

I've been super grateful for the free service you provide for play by posts, and appreciate that you've worked hard to broaden the range of available avatars since an earlier conversation in 2006. The options are still pretty narrow, though.

Perhaps licensing out images from folks like I know it costs you money, but would be very meaningful for those of us who use your non-European-inspired settings or just want to see ourselves or our character types represented as options.

Of course, one could say that the options aren't wide enough around other dimensions, like body shape, gender, etc.. However, to me it's especially meaningful as a player to have options around racial, ethnic diversity, and different genders (from muscular, masculine looking men to masculine, heavy set women to slim, femme dudes).

If licensing images for a public website weren't an issue, I'd just suggest allowing us to upload custom avatars. My sense is that you use images for which you already own the rights, which makes sense.

I'd be grateful if folks responding to this post don't equate a frank discussion of race and ethnicity for 'playing the race card' or use it as an excuse to rail against 'political correctness.' I'm all for chatting about race and other elements of diversity within roleplaying games, but this is about a pretty specific request.

Hi again everyone. Josh has reassured me about my concerns. I do think I will be adjusting the character tonight, to go with a bit more light-hearted theme. Looking forward to beginning.

Hey all. I was just having a conversation with GM Sloth and Aldebert, and wanted to discuss with the broader group:

Although this is a setting where slavery is common and legal, I realize I'm not going to be comfortable playing in a game with PCs who unambiguously favor slavery, own slaves, twirl their waxed mustachio at the prospect of buying them, etc.

Knowing that some players enjoy making a comedy out of things like this (and perhaps might enjoy playing a flamboyantly nasty slaver), I wanted to discuss before jumping into the campaign. I'm not judging folks who enjoy that, but I don't think I'll enjoy dealing with it over the course of a long campaign.

Aldebert and I talked, and it sounds like he as a PC will likely have a complex relationship with slavery. This wouldn't necessarily kill my enjoyment of the game. There are some themes that could be maturely explored (e.g., is temporary, indentured-servitude-like slavery different from U.S. chattel slavery? could it ever truly be practiced in a way that's not corrupt?). But for me it's too fraught a topic for PCs to lampoon offhand.

If I understand GM Sloth correctly, he and I agree that even in Golarion slavery as a practice is an 'Evil' act, though Neutral characters may engage and perhaps even Good characters might have a complicated relationship with it.

Anyway, let me know if this is going to crimp on your style. I will likely bow out of this game. If your character is going to explore some of that Neutral gray area around slavery, I may change my character, but in any case you can count on me getting pretty *intense* with some of the roleplay.

Thanks for reading!

Hi all! Nice to make your acquaintance.

I just had a crazy bit of drama in the past few days, so a bit behind the curve in thinking of a character. Appreciate your patience as I gradually pull my head out of the sand.

Frankly I want to focus on leveling Thoerl and The Laughing One up a bit, and don't want to tie them down at this time. Happy to sit out a mod.

Night march is the only one I've missed..

Sean K Reynolds wrote:


Alchemist extracts only affect the drinker. You can't split it up....

...(2) The alchemist isn't limited in the number of spells he can learn. So, if he wants to learn the communal version of an extract, he can do so--unlike a sorcerer, he doesn't have a fixed limit to his number of extracts known, and learning it doesn't keep him from learning other extracts later.
(3) Many of these communal spells are on the sor/wiz list, and the basic spell is on the alchemist list, so if Spell A is an extract and a wizard spell, and Communal Spell A is a wizard spell, Communal Spell A should be a extract as well. Even if it's not an efficient use of the alchemist's extract slots. Especially since an alchemist can translate a wiz spell into an alch extract if it's on the extract). Basically, if an alchemist never bothered to learn spider climb, but he finds a spellbook or formula book with communal spider climb, he should be able to make use of it, even though he probably has better options for his level 3 extracts.

But, just like kissing sailors, that can spread diseases, so be careful.

This is quite possibly the most baffling, nonsensical ruling I've seen come from a game designer. I'm frankly flummoxed that there wasn't an actual note in the books with Communal spells, particularly since the alchemist was already in existence...

I like Hooli. The perfect foil for the Eternal Peror. Alas, he shall not be around much on the boards.

Thorel might be up for another go. Ze has one more chronicle sheet to go before 2nd level. Probably won't get to it before you start another mod.

My mistake re: the bless. :-)

Er, frightfully sorry Mr. Twigs, but there's a bit of an error with Archibald's staff attack. It should be:

+3 to hit (+0 BAB, +2 Str, +1 masterwork)
1d6+3 damage (1d6 +3 Str x 1.5)

It's awesome to see a wizard kicking butt with his staff though. :-)

It's not like I'm cheering for Archibald to die or anything. But man, a few moments of quiet sure tastes sweet.


I don't mean to speak for the Judge, but I think we have 6 people already.

Fortunately, the Gray Reek had plenty of PA for Raise Dead. His player had made a terrible tactical move unbecoming of a cowardly witch.

Twigs, you really shouldn't worry about playing a second dwarf. I recently played some sessions in an all-dwarf game, and it was one of the fonnest gaming experiences I've ever had.

Er, the link you provided above leads back to this campaign.

First Steps is Level One and Level One only.

I'm quite interested in Part II — have started a Lantern Lodge character who I'd love to get up to Lvl 3 for the Lantern Lodge retirement... Had a lot of fun debuting said character at our store this last week. A bard, and that's all that I'm saying.

The Disappeared is the main one that I have not played. I could potentially do The Night March of Kalkamedes as well, and switch out of it at Kublacon. Also, God's Market Gamble would probably work. I am trying to switch tables at our store, and just need to find a 2nd DM. :-p

St. Bernard scolds Moblyd for depriving the Judge of his fun. "Stop killing everything so quickly! Let him get some hits in!"

I'd be very interested, but don't have any unplayed low level Seasons 0-2. Would anyone be up for the following?

3-05 Tide of Twilight
3-18 The God Market's Gamble
3-23 The Goblinblood Dead

It is likely I would play a certain extragolarial adventurer named Jondolph Qartayr. The longrifle is mostly for show, Euan and Painlord. Mostly.

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